It is assumed that already in the 10th century there was a connection to the Obodritenburg Zuarin, which was similar to today's road course with dams and a bridge. Even today's Alter Garten is said to have existed, at least in parts, as a fortified square at that time.
Heinrich the Lion conquered and founded the city of Schwerin in 1160 in his "Wendenkreuzzug". He burned down the Slavic castle and built a new castle as a substitute. The Alter Garten was the transition and border area between the old town and the castle.
Around 1560-1570 the design of a garden on this area was started, but not completed. A horse stud and a racecourse were built. From then on this place was called "on the track" or "at the track".
At the end of the 17th century this place was an important centre for the inhabitants and workers: There were the chancellery, riding house, blacksmith's shop, fire engine house, stables and houses of the house bailiff, the servants and craftsmen and also the ballroom. In the meantime the free place was used as a drill ground.
From 1750 to 1834, the area was transformed into a pleasure garden with a star-shaped path and lime trees all around and enlarged towards the castle by backfilling the Schwerin Lake.
The reconstruction of the castle was completed in the middle of the 19th century and the magnificent main portal has since had a direct view of the Alter Garten. Since the construction of the Victory Column for the Mecklenburgers who died in the war of 1870/71, and the two Rossebändigers on their pedestals at the castle bridge, the Alter Garten visually corresponds approximately to today's image.
In the 20th century, especially after the National Socialists seized power, the site was increasingly used for demonstrations and parades.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, no specific use was ascribed to this area. Election campaign appearances, art exhibitions, fairs and trade shows were mainly held there. At times, the square was also used as a large car park.
Today the Alter Garten is one of the most interesting areas in Schwerin. Surrounded by the castle, the State Museum, the Mecklenburg State Theatre and the jetty of the White Fleet, it has developed into a tourist centre. The Alter Garten offers a special highlight for residents and visitors of the state capital during the times of the Castle Festival.
The last production on the Alter Garten was the American musical classic Anatevka (Fiddler On The Roof) with its sparkling melodies and unshakeable humour which captured the hearts of the audience by storm.